Rough weather and growing traffic congestion during Ramadan are turning out to be a boon for e-commerce players, who are witnessing a surge in the orders for clothes and accessories in the lead-up to Eid-ul-Fitr.
Typically, the e-commerce players get about 15,000 orders a day, but from this month it has been in the neighbourhood of 21,000, according to industry insiders.
For instance, Bagdoom, one of the top e-commerce sites in the country, is receiving 35 percent more orders when compared with last Eid-ul-Fitr, said Mirajul Huq, its chief operating officer.
“The weather is playing a very important part this year,” he said.
At the start of Ramadan, cyclone Mora hit the country, and since last week a depression at the Bay of Bengal has been causing continuous rainfall in the capital.
For Daraz Bangladesh, the jump in orders from last Eid has been more than double, helped in part by some of the offers they are giving to entice Eid shoppers, according to Syed Mostahidal Hoq, its managing director.
eCourier, an e-commerce product delivery service company, is looking at a 20 percent hike in orders, which will go up to 50 percent soon, said Biplob G Rahul, chief executive and founder of the company.
It is not just in Dhaka, residents from outside the capital are getting into online shopping ahead of Eid, with the main reason being the absence of branded stores in towns and small cities.
“Through the online platform, they can buy clothes and accessories of renowned local brands,” said Razib Ahmed, president of the e-Commerce Association of Bangladesh (e-CAB).
The growth from the remotest part of the country is a new phenomenon, he said, adding that online purchasing by rural customers has increased at least 50 percent this Eid. Rahul of eCourier corroborated Ahmed's account.
“We are now mostly delivering outside Dhaka,” he said.
Of Daraz's current orders, 45 percent are from Dhaka city and 10 percent from the small district level, according to Hoq. The development is heartening for the e-commerce players as it means customer trust on the platform is rising.
Of Bagdoom's total sales, 6 percent is paid through bank cards, which was less than 3 percent a year ago.
Around 20 percent of the people are also paying through mobile financial services and this number was very little last year, Bagdoom's CEO said.
“People are paying before getting their products and that means they are starting to trust us. This is a very good phenomenon for the industry,” Huq added.
Rahul said it would be better if the payment system goes completely online, doing with the option of paying cash upon delivery.
Delivery persons sometimes get mugged for the parcels and cash. “If the payment goes completely online then definitely this situation will not be this bad,” he added. Currently, there are 1,000 e-commerce entrepreneurs in the country, while another 1,000 run their business via Facebook.
The country's total e-commerce market size is more than Tk 1,500 crore a year, according to Daraz.
However, according to e-CAB, the market size of e-commerce business is about Tk 1,000 crore, which is growing at around 20 to 30 percent a year.
At present, there are 6.76 crore internet users in the country, according to Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission, and this number is growing rapidly.
There are 16 lakh regular online customers, with the number increasing ahead of festivals, according to Daraz.